Why he's voting for Abu-Taleb

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Sometimes there is a particular event that leaves such a lasting impression in a voter's mind that it greatly affects his choice come the next election. This is mine: About two years ago I attended an Oak Park village board meeting. Trustees were discussing a proposed ordinance that would restrict parkway trees to a 50-foot spacing. If approved, many houses on small lots would not have a parkway tree in front of their property.

(This is a village that has earned a Tree City U.S.A. designation for 25 consecutive years and Growth Awards for 10 years from the National Arbor Day Foundation in recognition of the village's maintenance and care of thousands of parkway trees.)

The subject attracted a full house of residents and many spoke in opposition to the ordinance. They included the chair of the Village Forestry Commission, John Seaton, the respected former director of the Oak Park Conservatory, as well as local professional landscapers and homeowners.

The lone voice favoring the ordinance was a paid, out-of-town consultant who refuted the village's own commission and local experts. At the end of the public testimony President Pope spoke eloquently about the village's need for economic restraint as the rationale to pass this ordinance. The consultant won. The board, in lockstep with President Pope, unanimously adopted the ordinance.

This was so outrageous — the board hiring a consultant to refute their own commission — I was embarrassed and left the meeting.

I look forward to voting for Anan Abu-Taleb on April 9.

Victor J. Guarino

Oak Park

Reader Comments

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Vote for trees  

Posted: March 28th, 2013 5:36 AM

I think I remember, around the time of the tree vote, there was a number of people noting in these forums about the lockstep votes of vma board members. And then, for a moment, there were a flurry of votes taken which always went the way of pope's wants before it went back to lockstep voting. Pay no attention to Ray J. he can't tell the difference between his lies and the truth.

Bruce Samuels from Oak Park  

Posted: March 27th, 2013 6:59 PM

I agree with Vic and Ray, we need as many trees as possible. The Village forester is wrong on the issue of spacing trees and the tree trimmers that are hired butcher our trees too often. The Park Dept. increased the concrete footprint in Scoville Park as well as planting trees with the burlap constraining the roots. Ridgeland Commons is a disaster with removal of trees, destroying the hill and putting in plastic grass!

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: March 27th, 2013 11:01 AM

It is immaterial how Ray Johnson voted. There is only one vote -- the board at large. Guarino is correct about the vote,

Ray Johnson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 27th, 2013 10:57 AM

Why would anyone lie about their vote, when it can be looked up? Village Board minutes are on line and dated October 5, 2009. Agenda Item G: My amendment failed by a vote of 4-3. The final vote was 6-1. I was the sole no vote.

Shocking! from OP  

Posted: March 27th, 2013 8:15 AM

What? Ray Johnson and the members of the VMA lie or reinterpret history to preserve his/their image? Say it isn't so....LOL!


Posted: March 27th, 2013 8:05 AM

addendum -- I was so flabbergasted that Mr. Johnson said the vote supporting the ordinance was not unanimous I had to refute immediately. He is also wrong about the forestry commission and its chair -- they ALL opposed the ordinance. And evereyone on the board - including Mr. Hedges - did note in lockstep with Mr. Pope. Please tell us which trustee listened to his constituents and voted against the ordinance??


Posted: March 27th, 2013 7:53 AM

wrong again, Mr. Johnson. I was there. The vote was unanimous - including Mr. Hedgese.

Ray Johnson from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: March 27th, 2013 7:01 AM

Mr. Guarino: A couple of corrections -- the Chair of the Forestry Commission at the time, (himself a forester in another community), supported the increase from 35 to 50ft for distance between trees. As a Trustee, I didn't believe the recommendation was appropriate and I voted against the change in policy. The vote was not unanimous nor in 'lockstep' with anyone. I listened to all the experts and made a judgement that our policy at the time served us well and I didn't want it changed.

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